Ballina shire council has officially received the development application (DA) from the NSW office of sport for the proposed Lennox Head Olympic aerial training ski jump at Lake Ainswoth.
Local residents have been quick to react and state that they do not see a place for the ski jump in Lennox Head.
‘We really support and sympathise with the olympians. We are not against them, we just feel that Lennox Head is not the place for this,’ said Michelle Shearer from the Lennox Head Against the Ski Jump action group.
‘We’ve taken the time to look at this proposal and and we’ve asked what are we missing but we just can’t see any merit.
‘We are happy to have Olympic training that is appropriate to the area. But an 11 storey ski jump looming out of the dunes is just ridiculous.’
‘There will be a briefing next week for councillors,’ said Ballina Mayor, David Wright.
‘This is an information session for councillors to ask questions of the planners. It is not open to the public.’
The estimated the cost of the work is $10,500,000 and the DA can be viewed online the DA reference is 2017/216.
Joint Regional Planning Panel
‘The Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) will be the body making a decision on the matter,’ continued Mayor Wright.
The Ballina council planning department has a duel role to play in the DA process.
‘When the DA is lodged with council one team deals with the administration, notifications, assessment work and consultation and prepare a report for the determination of the DA by the JRPP,’ said Ballina council’s town planner, Rod Willis.
It is the responsibility of staff doing this independent report not to let the councillors views colour the technical report to the JRPP.
A separate team of staff, that are not working on the technical report, can be asked to put together a separate submission expressing the views of the council as determined by the councillors.
‘That representation would be based on a resolution of council that would be guiding the position of the councillors and the council,’ said Willis.
‘That position would be normally be determined by the resolution of the council.’
Ballina council currently have two representative on the JRPP one councillor, Mayor David Wright, and one staff representative nominated by the council.
Members of the JRPP are required to declare any interest that they have in a particular DA before the panel and remove themselves from the panel if they deem the interest would potentially influence their vote.
Willis confirmed that all panel members have to be able to set themselves apart from the DA. If they have any interest in the matter it could be deemed a conflict of interest and the panel member should step down.
The Lennox Head Against the Ski Jump action group have written to MP Justine Elliot expressing their concern that they have ‘learnt that this development will go through the JRPP which approves 98 per cent of proposals presented to it.
‘The DA that is put through council may be considered at this stage but they are not required to be guided by council or community concerns. The Office of Sport continues to provide updates presenting the jump as a done deal.’
‘As a group we are also extremely concerned that the State representatives on the JRPP, who may be unfamiliar with this beautiful area, will look at the developer’s photos and not see much harm,’ said Shearer.
‘They need to come and visit the area so that they can see the huge impact this enormous structure will have on this coastline.’
The asked if he would be sitting on the JRPP Mayor Wright said he was not sure yet because he doesn’t know what the DA is yet.
MP Tamara Smith has also stated that she has serious concerns regarding the impact of the development on the Lennox Head community.
‘It is hard to see how a 9 storey structure being constructed behind the sand dunes of Lennox Head is a bonus for the community. I have serious concerns about our loss of amenity and in particular scenic amenity.
‘If a developer wanted to construct a 9 storey hotel beside Lake Ainsworth we wouldn’t be having this conversation as developments of that height are not permitted in Lennox Head. Why then is a ski jump that high on the cards and who does it actually benefit?
‘The community need to be consulted and I encourage everyone to make submissions when the Development application is submitted.’
Ballina council has said that as the application hasn’t been notified yet as it has only just been submitted. The DA will be put on public exhibition within the next fortnight. At that time people will be able to make submission and enquiries to the council that can be taken into account when dealing with the application.
There has been some confusion regarding the height of the structure with estimates from four to eleven storeys being put forward. According to the office of sports the height from ground level will be approximately 35m. Assuming that each storey is 3.3m then the approximate height is 10.6 storeys high.
For more information see the Office of sport NSW page on the proposal here.